Extract Phantasms of the Living - Volume ii - The hopping message
Type of spiritual experienceHallucination
We need to forget the annoying tone and wording of the letter, the nurse was more tuned in than she was.
Here is what I think was happening.
The brother, I will assume, was dying and wished his sister to know. In his perceptions his wish would have been registered as a prayer for help and it would have been accepted by his composer. Here is what could have happened next.
The prayer was sent to May Clerk using the bridge and reached May Clerk’s composer, but from the way she describes it, she was not receptive to the information received. I think we can see from the wording why not.
The composer then used her perceptions of her brother to build a message which was then sent to the nurse – a more receptive person and she saw the brother as a hallucination. The paleness is not a reflection of the fact he was dying, it is a feature of many hallucinations – half formed ghostly images superimposed on the recipient’s field of vision.
May Clerke was thus probably used as a staging post in the communication
A description of the experience
Extract Phantasms of the Living volume ii
[from Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death – F W H Myers]
From May Clerke
In the month of August 1864, about 3 or 4 o’clock, in the afternoon, I was sitting reading on the verandah of our house in Barbados. My coloured nurse was driving my little girl, about eighteen months or so old, in her perambulator in the garden. I got up after some time to go into the house, not having noticed anything at all – when this woman said to me ‘Missis, who was that gentleman that was talking to you just now?’
‘There was no gentleman talking to me’ I said ‘Oh yes dere was missis – a very pale gentleman, very tall and he talked to you and you was very rude, for you never answered him’
I repeated there was no one, and got rather cross with the woman, and she begged me to write down the day, for she knew she had seen someone.
I did, and in a few days I heard of the death of my brother in Tobago. Now the curious part is this, that I did not see him, but she – a stranger to him – did; and she said that he seemed very anxious for me to notice him
The source of the experience
Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image
Observation contributed by: Francis Keeble